Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Agnew, Andrew (1793-1849)
AGNEW, Sir ANDREW (1793–1849), of Lochnaw, baronet, and promoter of Sabbatarian legislation, was born at Kinsale, Ireland, 21 March 1793. He was seventh baronet of Lochnaw, and head of an ancient and distinguished family in Wigtonshire. His mother was the eldest daughter of John, twenty-sixth Lord Kinsale, premier baron of Ireland. His education was received chiefly from private tutors, but partly at the university of Edinburgh; and he came in his youth under very deep religious impressions. Succeeding his grandfather when only sixteen, he spent his early years chiefly in the improvement of his ancestral castle and estate, and in 1830 he was unanimously elected member of parliament for his own county, Wigtonshire, in the character of ‘a moderate reformer.’ It was after his third election, in 1832, that the Sabbath movement began to attract public attention, mainly through the efforts of an English association termed the ‘Lord's Day Society.’ When it was resolved to prosecute measures in parliament for the protection of the Lord's Day, Sir Andrew Agnew in 1832 took charge of the movement.
The first step to be taken was the appointment of a committee of the House of Commons to procure information on the facts of the case, and the next the introduction of a bill to remedy the evil. Sir Andrew Agnew's bill prohibited all open labour on Sunday, excepting works of necessity and mercy. Sir Andrew Agnew encountered intense and varied opposition on account of the thoroughgoing nature of his bill, but he firmly refused to modify it. The bill was introduced on four several occasions. On the first, the second reading was rejected by 79 votes to 73; on the second, by 161 to 125; on the third by 75 to 43; while on the fourth (in 1837) it was carried by 110 to 66. Having thus at length passed into committee, the clauses were about to be discussed when the death of King William IV caused a dissolution of parliament. To the new House of Commons Sir Andrew was not elected, and no further attempt was made to pursue the movement in parliament.
In a private capacity Sir Andrew continued to advocate the cause in many ways, and not without success, and he threw his energies with much ardour into many of the other religious and philanthropic movements of the time. Of genial and kindly nature, he was much beloved and esteemed among those who knew him. An attack of scarlet fever terminated his life, at the age of 56, on Thursday, 12 April 1849.[Life, by Thomas McCrie, jun., D.D., LL.D., London, 1850; Hansard's Debates.]